GaiaNIR: Combining optical and Near-Infra-Red (NIR) capabilities with Time-Delay-Integration (TDI) sensors for a future Gaia-like mission

David Hobbs, Erik Høg, Alcione Mora, Cian Crowley, Paul McMillan, Piero Ranalli, Ulrike Heiter, Carme Jordi, Nigel Hambly, Ross Church, Brown Anthony, Paolo Tanga, Laurent Chemin, Jordi Portail, Fran Jiménez-Esteban, Sergei Klioner, Francois Mignard, Johan Fynbo, Łukasz Wyrzykowski, Krzysztof RybickiRichard I. Anderson, Alberto Cellino, Claus Fabricius, Michael Davidson, Lennart Lindegren

Research output: Working paper

Abstract / Description of output

ESA recently called for new "Science Ideas" to be investigated in terms of feasibility and technological developments -- for technologies not yet sufficiently mature. These ideas may in the future become candidates for M or L class missions within the ESA Science Program. With the launch of Gaia in December 2013, Europe entered a new era of space astrometry following in the footsteps of the very successful Hipparcos mission from the early 1990s. Gaia is the successor to Hipparcos, both of which operated in optical wavelengths, and Gaia is two orders of magnitude more accurate in the five astrometric parameters and is surveying four orders of magnitude more stars in a vast volume of the Milky Way. The combination of the Hipparcos/Tycho-2 catalogues with the first early Gaia data release will give improved proper motions over a long ~25 year baseline. The final Gaia solution will also establish a new optical reference frame by means of quasars, by linking the optical counterparts of radio (VLBI) sources defining the orientation of the reference frame, and by using the zero proper motion of quasars to determine a non-rotating frame. A weakness of Gaia is that it only operates at optical wavelengths. However, much of the Galactic centre and the spiral arm regions, important for certain studies, are obscured by interstellar extinction and this makes it difficult for Gaia to deeply probe. Traditionally, this problem is overcome by switching to the infra-red but this was not possible with Gaia's CCDs. Additionally, to scan the entire sky and make global absolute parallax measurements the spacecraft must have a constant rotation and this requires that the CCDs operate in TDI mode, increasing their complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics


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